There is a more complicated job in Hollywood than that of being a successful, millionaire and adored star around the world and not dying trying: being the son of the star in question. There are the numerous cases of most children born between cheers and tinsel, deprived of an ordinary childhood and then plunged into a self-destructive spiral that dyed their illustrious surname with a scandal. Like Chet Hanks, son of Tom Hanks, accused of mistreatment and linked to far-right movements; Cameron Douglas, son of Michael Douglas, addicted to drugs and sentenced to several years in prison; or Weston Cage, son of Nicolas Cage, arrested for hitting the road after causing a traffic accident. Light years away from the seriousness of the events just mentioned, the episodes experienced by Dylan Penn, daughter of Sean Penn and Robin Wright, have not been easily digestible either. But this doubly illustrious first-born, who for a long time seemed destined to be the next lost sheep of the movie mecca, has surprisingly become the next big star of the Los Angeles hills … with the Cannes red carpet as catapult.
Because the Boulevard de la Croissette, prolific cradle of stars like Jodie Foster or Robert de Niro, has set its sights on this 30-year-old Californian woman who, at the hand of her father, presents the most important role of her short career in the contest . Flag Day, directed by and co-starring Sean Penn, adapts the memoir of journalist Jennifer Vogel, daughter of a con artist and bank robber who recounts in the book the complex reconciliation with her absent father. Its premiere in Cannes has resulted in a mixed reception among critics who, however, become unanimous when it comes to praising the young woman’s debut in a role of festival caliber. “His performance is fantastic. She reveals that she can be a great actress ”, she says. Variety. “Dylan is natural, balanced and captivating. She looks like a veteran ”, she adds. The Washington Post. Pete Hammond, de Deadline, believes that Dylan has inherited his parents’ acting skills. “She lives up to expectations with a multi-dimensional role that decisively positions her as a star in the making,” he adds.
With just a handful of jobs behind her back, she herself has made public her concern about the fact that she will take the lead role in Flag Day was seen as an act of blatant plugging. “Terrified” because people might think that she got the role just because her father was the director, the until now model asked her to postpone the project to shoot a couple more films and thus feel that she was “earning” it. However, the specialized press appreciates the chemistry that the couple gives off on screen, and Dylan reveals that he has enriched this dynamic with his own fatherly experience: “We have a complex relationship. We are both alpha and sometimes we collide ”.
Image of firms such as Ralph Lauren, Gap, Rag & Bone or Stuart Weitzman and a recurring spectator in the fashion weeks of Paris or New York, for years she has defended that her work as a mannequin was more a way of making a living than a professional passion. After working as a script editor and as an artist for storyboard (storyboarding), her future seemed destined to be behind the camera and not to follow in the footsteps of her celebrated parents. But it was they who convinced her to give her profession a chance when she confessed that her dream was to sit in the director’s chair. “They both told me separately: You are not going to be a good director if you don’t know what it is to be in the actor’s shoes,” she told the film’s presentation press conference.
Her face made the covers for the first time in 2013, when the media blamed her for the traumatic and media rift between Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, a relationship that she has denied. Shortly after, Dylan Penn opted to star in a racy photographic report in the magazine Treats, to the chagrin of his parents, who were not even notified of the launch. “My father told me, ‘Okay, you’ve reached your limit. You better not go any further ”, although he acknowledged in Vanity Fair: “To be honest, if I could backtrack, I wouldn’t have taken so many clothes off. It was a bit naive. “
But her landing this summer in the promised land of Hollywood is not only significant because of the weight of her provenance, but also because of the controversial personal history that she has displayed so far, making her more inclined to swell the pages of tabloid chronicles of TMZ that the cinematographic ones of Variety. As published by the web Radar, Dylan has been arrested a couple of times for driving under the influence, and in 2017 she was admitted to a detox center. Her complicated maturity was portrayed by some photographs that came to light that year and which portrayed Sean Penn having, in the middle of the street, a heated argument with her boyfriend at the time, Jimmy Giannopoulos. With a Robin Wright as a witness and unable to hold back his tears, the irate Oscar winner reproaches his son in law while showing him a photo on his mobile screen. The couple’s second son, Hopper, who also has a supporting role in Flag Day, has also made public his addiction to methamphetamine and was arrested in 2018 for drug possession.
Robin Wright and Sean Penn ended their 14-year marriage in 2010. The actress of House of Cards She rebuilt her life with the French executive of the firm Yves Saint Laurent Clement Giraudet –18 years her junior–, and Sean Penn married last summer, and through a Zoom video call, with his girlfriend of the last five years, Leila George, 29 years old. Although physically the resemblance to his mother is more than evident, Dylan assures that his personality is more similar to that of his father. “We both have a lot of egos. We are very stubborn and, I don’t know, sometimes we are so confident that it can even be annoying. But we have realized that we have to relax. He took a little longer than me ”.
Being the daughter of two of the greatest movie stars of our time led her to grow up between sets, to jump from school to school following her parents’ filming (she remembers with special emotion her months at an Australian Aboriginal school while Sean Penn filmed The thin red line) and greet figures like Fidel Castro. “I met him when I was 14 years old and he impressed me a lot,” he alleged about the Cuban commander. However, the young woman admits to having had a life with her feet glued to the ground thanks to the influence of her parents. One example: when she decided to drop out of a cinematography course at the University of Southern California after one semester, they stopped sending her money and she had to take jobs like delivering pizza at home. “When they asked me about three times if I was the stripper I said, ‘I have to stop this,” she explains to NY Post. After avoiding throughout her adolescence the opportunity to stand in front of the camera, due to “shyness” and because all the roles she was offered were “silly blondes without a plot arc”, Flag Day It is a before and after for her and, who knows, if the long-awaited continuation of one of the most illustrious lineages of the film mecca.